RETAIL TRENDS HAVE been inching their way into the promotional apparel market for some time now, but none have made quite as much headway as urban wear (comparatively speaking, of course). For the past two years especially, it’s been the embodiment of what is considered fashion-forward in the current market, and is showing no signs of fatigue.
To help distributors ride the wave successfully, Promo Marketing has developed a primer for integrating the latest urban trends into today’s apparel promotions.
LESSON 1: MARKING TERRITORY
The argument’s as old as that one about the chicken and the egg. The demand for trendy promotional apparel is high, but adding a logo makes a piece inherently uncool. Reimagining logo placement is essential for urban wear styles. “People aren’t just doing the left logo print
anymore—[they’re saying] ‘Hey, let’s do it on the sleeve,’ ‘Let’s do it around the bottom,’” said Paige Cannon, director of marketing at Norcross, Georgia-based Alternative Apparel. She also mentioned the collar line as another unique, yet underused spot.
Branding must be smaller and more integrated into the design for it to work within the urban design principles. Kevin Flynn, president and CEO of Easton, Pennsylvania-based fashion-design company Satisfashion offered up an example: “You take a really great logo … make it look like a patch, then you fray it [around the edges]. Now you’ve got something kind of cool,” he said.
Cannon noted that logo creativity not only makes things more fun, but it’s just good marketing. Flynn agreed, “It doesn’t have to stay so stale. It needs to have a little bit of ‘wow.’ You can still have your corporate branding and your identity, but you gotta make it look good.” »
LESSON 2: STAYING CURRENT
Since Satisfashion works almost exclusively within the music industry, staying abreast of urban styling is Flynn’s livelihood. “That whole washed-out, vintage look is still gonna be hot [for the next two years] because rock ’n’ roll is doing bigger numbers than ever before,” he said. In the current movement, “destroyed” and “distressed” are watchwords, and defining styles include burnout fabrics as well as lightweight layers.